The Ship Dream - Part 6 - The Lord Shut the Door

The crowd now gathered outside murmuring and mumbling words that I couldn’t understand. At this point I walked towards the large open door on the bulkhead that lead to the outer rail to get a better look at the commotion. Standing just inside the door as if purposefully positioned there was a young woman named Margaret. This was not the same girl who originally welcomed me onto the ship but represented another of God’s servants faithfully working on the ship. Also she represented an important event in the timeline of our church.

Suddenly, the large wooden door began to move by itself. I lifted my hands as if to help push it but before I could touch it it violently slammed shut. The moment it closed the young woman quickly slid a lock into sealed position as if having known ahead of time this was her duty. The massive door was now tightly secured with all those on the outside effectively locked out.

At this very moment a deafening clasp of thunder tore through the scene. It seemed almost timed with the locking of the door so as to mark something. At the same moment that the thunder cracked it also began raining. As well, I felt a sudden jar as the ship moved forward for the first time since being on it. Whereas, before we had merely been sitting in the sea preparing to sail, we were now making way through the night ruling the sea.

We had made it. We survived the initial phase of forming and the enemy’s battle to stop us through division had failed with the door tightly locked to the chaos outside. Now we were moving graciously through the night with the rain of heaven, a sign of blessing, steadily watering us as we went. In this part of the dream a difficult decision had been made. Even so, we had confirmation that it was primarily the Lord who made the decision and not just us; we had only followed his lead. He shut the door and we locked it which represented our discernment of his will and agreement with what he was doing. And now by his power we were moving forward into the next level of our purpose.

As we mentioned before there was a presence of a second group that was with our ship, yet not entirely with us. It was becoming a serious threat to the overall unity of the ship and therefore its purpose which would only be maintained to the degree that we could put aside differences to work together as one united crew. As well, this entire thing could only operate as intended if the crew were properly submitted to the Captain and his delegated authority. The voice I had heard outside was rogue and destructive. Those who sought to exercise self-appointed authority on the ship were a threat to the entire mission and were blatantly out of order.

Let me explain…

During this time a serious decision had to be made by the leadership team in the church. We were either going to continue to lead and follow the vision we had originally agreed to or we were going to be domineered by the voice on the outer railing that was quickly gaining prominence and forming a separate crew. This literally happened to us and we came to a do or die moment in our ministry. Satan was seeking to steal it away from us at its very inception. This would have been equivalent to a spiritual abortion had we been passive to it. Thank God we pulled together to confront this though it wasn’t easy.

We were very young, I myself being only 24 at the time, while every person taking part in this division was older and in many ways more experienced in life. Even so, we were the rightful crew of the ship as we were appointed by him and submitted to him in all sincerity. He had also already spoken to us about his plan i.e. this dream you are reading right now and other he gave afterwards. In this way, we often had a God’s eye view on events impacting the church before they even took place. This was not only helpful and encouraging to me as a young shepherd, but necessary. I likely would have quit early on from discouragement had I not been fully convinced that the Lord had a plan during these days.

Every ship has its pearl. Why was the young girl I saw named Margaret? The name Margaret comes from the greek word margerites which means “a pearl”. A pearl is obviously something of great value, however to sailors a pearl is almost like a diamond from the sea itself. This one act of making the decision to lock the door to the mumbling group outside was perhaps the most important of all tasks done on the ship as so much hinged on this decision. The ship itself could not move until this last door was shut. I am convinced that if this one seemingly small task of just locking the door had not been done the mission would have never been completed. The division would have grown worse and we would have failed the Captain before we had even sailed.

There are many lessons I have learned just through this one humble girl which was fulfilled in the natural. I noticed that even during some of the language used in our discussions about this problem “the keys” to the lock the door came up. Ive learned that humble yet courageous acts, though the most difficult and heart wrenching at times, can be the ones that cause ministries to move forward more than any other.

As I mentioned the lightening and rain came simultaneously along with the movement of the boat. A lot hinged on just this one crucial moment. How we responded, or lacked response to the situation of division, determined the ship’s/church’s destiny. When you are faced with serious decisions you must be bold and respond appropriately. Without going into too much detail there were at least two specific things that my brother and his wife did to fulfill this crucial ”locking the door” scene. Ultimately, it was taking a bold yet loving stand to stop what was happening just outside the door of the ship. Because this action was taken we were able to continue in God’s work.

Before moving on I should clarify something. Yes, there was what people call a church split early on in Aguaviva. The Lord in showing this was not saying that all involved were bad people. There were different players whom the Lord identified clearly in the dream that followed after this one with varying levels of responsibility in His eyes. Some were just positioned wrong at the wrong time, others were manipulated. Regardless, who you align yourself with is important. If those who you are running with are slanderers or troublemakers in the church of the Lord then you will reap some of what they have sewn just by standing with them. I have made it a personal code not to run with people who slander others and are given to complaining.

Moving on…

The lightening was representative of the authoritative voice of God, and the decision/judgement of God pertaining to it. He saw all of this happening and simultaneously responded in displeasure to the problem, and blessing to us his crew. Remember, It began to rain on us. This is a sign of heavenly blessing, unless of course you are shut out like what happened with Noah’s ark. From this point on a new flow of blessings began to grip our ministry and we began to have what I would describe as deeper impact. During this season God sent us many laborers, including a worship, youth, and also a prayer leader. These all became great friends in the gospel. Friends are some of the greatest blessings you can receive in life. And how we steward those friendships is closely monitored by heaven.

At this point the ship began moving forward. I felt it. We all felt it really. After this initial test passed there was definitely forward movement and momentum with the ministry. We were free to serve God to the best of our ability and it was refreshing to the soul. Our church Aguaviva (Living Waters), which basically means moving water, and is a name for the Holy Spirit, began to move and make a mark on the community for Christ’s name. We were more than just a church; we were a breakthrough movement shining the Lord’s light boldly and publicly.

A final thought on the thunderbolt. For me personally the sound of the thunder was indeed a powerful marker. It was a connection to something that happened years earlier when the Lord first called me to serve him. Five years prior the Lord visited me in a dream just before entering the Coast Guard. In a nutshell, I saw a thick cloud and a messenger appearing under it off in the distance. Suddenly, he was translated to standing in front of me holding a bible in his hands. He spoke over the pages of the book giving my kingdom orders, “It is your duty to carry the message of the gospel”. I was literally terrified by him and so I turned to run away when a thunderbolt violently struck me and lifted me up into the cloud. So basically, my original kingdom orders were connected to the sound of a thunderbolt.

In this dream, when the thunderbolt came, it coincided with the Lord’s call on my life to carry the message of the gospel. It was him communicating that the time to perform your gospel duty was at hand. Ever since this scenario which I have described took place in real life I have been ministering the gospel in one form or another. The first time I was shown lightening it was my call. Five years later it was my appointment and commission.

We will seal all of this up in the 7th and final blog. See you there…

The Ship Dream - Part 5 - A Voice of Alarm

Part 5 - A Voice of Alarm and Division

After a short tour of the ship and meeting some of the crew I was jarred by the sound of a woman’s scream. It was coming from the very area I had first come onto the ship. Though I could not see her, as she was on the other side of the bulkhead on the outer rail, I knew she was sitting on some kind of a tall perch. And from this exalted perch she was watching over the water as if a watchman.

From her position that was higher than those around her she began to cry out “Shark!”and to rile the people considerably. The sound of fear was in her voice. Apparently upon seeing the sharks in the water around the ship she was alerting the whole ship as to their presence and it was drawing many people to go look at the terrifying guests.

I didn’t go, nor did any who I had just spoke with, as I was already well aware that we were in an ocean filled with innumerable sharks.

Then, I heard a strange thing after the woman delivered her desperate cry. A loud sound of what could only be described as murmuring broke out. I could hear many people talking yet I couldn't understand a single word they were saying. Many had gathered outside to see the sharks and were now murmuring loudly while many of the workers stayed on the main deck to continue working.

Basically what had happened, was a voice had exalted itself on the ship that drew people away from the work by scaring them, and had effectively created a division. At this point, there were two distinct groups of people on the ship, those working on the main deck, and those murmuring on the outer deck.

What was this all about? What was the Lord giving me a heads up and spiritual perspective on though this strange scene?

Just as I had seen so it came to pass. Not long after we formed our new church an event, or a series of events, came to pass that matched this with shocking accuracy. I, and my closest partners, saw fear and murmuring quickly break out causing a serious division to grip our young ministry. There was literally nothing we could do. The church quickly had a serious split that ended in people leaving, distrust, and significant damage to friendships. Some relationships were repaired and others were never the same.

Without going into unnecessary details, one of the people involved in this actually came to me and admitted that they had been totally overcome with fear. Shortly afterwards they began to draw people after themselves. What followed was destruction. Let me explain.

The Lord showed me that the root of this original division on “His” ship was fear. The Lord hates fear and sees it as a sin. Even in the book of Revelation the fearful are the first group of sinners doomed to the lake of fire. Whenever people are given over to this demonic influence they reject faith and go into self-preservation mode. And fear motivated self-preservation is the exact opposite of living the cross in faith. Those who are saved in faith deny themselves, seeking not to save their own lives, and embrace the cross. Those who fall to fear reject Jesus’ command, seeking to save their lives. Ultimately, when people give themselves over to a spirit of fear they begin to angle inside the church, to whisper, murmur, and seek to protect themselves more than to obey the Lord and carry the cross. This creates havoc within the body and opens the door to increasing manipulation. It’s hard to overestimate how much division one exalted voice of fear can do to those of faith. We saw early on. Again, this is the root the Lord showed me though it manifested in a number of behaviors.

Just as the voice I heard began to magnify the reality of the sharks (the demonic realm) around us, so this happened before my very eyes. I understand better now that fear motivated self-preservation can be effective in dissuading those who are not in fear, yet are a little on edge about the situation they are in.

For the record, I do believe in the need for real watchmen in the Body of Christ, its just that when people self appoint themselves into this position without being properly submitted to Christ and his delegated authorities they can bring tremendous damage. Real watchmen have the gift of being able to alert people to dangers without inspiring fear in people but rather faith to overcome.

In our case, the situation we had found ourselves in was extremely challenging. There was nothing easy about dealing with this but God gave us the grace to remain in faith through it and to lay hold of what God was trying to do in our midst in this small Costa Rican town.

It was hard enough wrestling with the demonic principalities we dealt with in those days as we sought to break through new territory in the spirit realm. Yet, having people begin to announce how powerful the demons were, and how great their influence over the people, in the fearful manner that they did, only exacerbated the problems.

There are many more details and dynamics to this part that the dream represents. It was basically a split. Though many of us tried to do all we could to mitigate the damage, and I appreciated those efforts myself trying to be merciful in the experience, there were also other views on the whole situation. Bottomline, what I saw came to pass. My closet friends would probably agree with much of this while also have different insights, and perhaps God inspired revelation, on that difficult time. I also saw more than just fear as a factor, however, having had much time to think about it I do believe fear was a major factor. I try to remember that no single person can see the whole thing perfectly except God. What I was shown was what I needed to see and has served as a great lesson for me for many years.

This is a great lesson for all ministers of the gospel. We are called to shine in the dark and to confront and dispel dark spirits. This is no easy work and though it pays well in heaven for those who will take it on; it usually doesn't pay much on earth.

Finally, when we are surrounded by darkness the worst thing we can do is to become overly focused on it so as to magnify it. This is something that the Lord spoke to me about in a later dream as well. We are not to be ignorant of the schemes of the devil but we are to not become paranoid and fearful of his power, regardless of how much of it he exerts over people. Perhaps the greatest thing we can do is to magnify the light when darkness is present. We can praise, read scriptures, and make prophetic declarations based on the scripture that cause the enemy and his kingdom to shake.

In the end, magnifying the Lord’s goodness and power in our conversations and prayers was something that helped us through this test.

Next time we will see what this was seeking to thwart. That is, the destiny of the ship.